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by Daniel Hathaway


For the eighty-first time, Baldwin Wallace (formerly College, now University and no longer hyphenized) honored the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and some of his forebears and contemporaries with four main concerts on its campus in Berea on April 19 and 20 — plus a lecture, a Bach Institute open house, a master class, ancillary events held in area churches and a reunion of former Bach Festival participants. The Cantor of Leipzig would have been proud.


The opening concert was an organ recital of music by Bach and music that inspired Bach given by Hungarian-born, Oberlin-trained organist Bálint Karosi, who now lives and works in Boston. Playing the 1974 Rudolf Janke organ in Berea Methodist Church, Karosi presented music by Nicolaus Bruhns, Dietrich Buxtehude and Bach, as well as music by others — Johann Friedrich Fasch, Prince Johann Ernst and François Couperin — that Bach had arranged for the organ. Additionally, Karosi improvised on a chorale theme given to him on the spot. Read the rest of this entry »


by Daniel Hathaway


When it rains, it pours, and in April that’s a good thing. Two stellar concert organists are set to play very different recitals in Cleveland on Friday, April 19, and happily, fans of organ music can catch both of them. 34-year-old Hungarian-born Bálint Karosi opens the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival at 4 pm at Berea United Methodist Church with music by J.S. Bach’s predecessors and the master himself, and 25-year-old Christopher Houlihan performs Vierne and Liszt at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights at 7:30 in a recital jointly sponsored by Fairmount Church and the Cleveland Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

How different can two organists and two recitals be? With centuries of repertory to explore, “a longer history than any other instrument,” Houlihan reminds us in a phone call from his home in New York, there can be plenty of differences. The instruments, for one thing. Karosi will play a baroque-style tracker instrument built by Rudolf Janke in Germany in 1974, while Houlihan will perform on the eclectic, 100-rank electro-pneumatic instrument built by Ohio’s Schantz Co. in 1966 (incorporating elements of an earlier Holtkamp organ). For another thing, the two players come from different backgrounds and were inspired by very different influences. Read the rest of this entry »

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